President's Message - October 9, 2019

October 9, 2019

The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) 51st Annual General Assembly (AGA) made history.

It was 1816 when the Manitoba Métis first protected their identity at the Victory of Frog Plain, also known as the Battle of Seven Oaks. That was where we first unveiled the Métis Nation Flag, where we asserted ourselves and demanded our fair and proper rights.

Our Métis history and the spirit of those who have come before us have guided us many times and continue to guide us. It is only fitting that over two centuries later, that spirit of bravery combined with a sense of what is right guided us again at our AGA.

The MMF is a founding Governing Member of the Métis National Council (MNC). Acting through the MNC, the National Definition of what is Métis was developed and adopted. But that definition has been deliberately and repeatedly ignored by the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) President Margaret Froh, resulting in the suspension of the MNO for their actions. Sadly, as well, President Audrey Poitras of the Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) and President Glen McCallum of the Métis Nation - Saskatchewan (MNS) have not stepped up in opposition to the MNO to protect the Métis definition of Citizenship. This defies reason. It appears they are putting their own motivations ahead of the Métis Nation.

The MNO is clearly unable to protect the integrity of the Métis National Identity and Citizenship. This is a matter that goes to our very core. At risk is our name, our symbols, our history, our rights, and everything we have fought so hard for. This means the future of our Citizens and our Youth.

The MMF is a democracy. We make our decisions together and then carefully decide on our course of action. So as your President, I and the MMF cabinet brought this matter to our Members. We asked the General Assembly what we should do. We asked the Citizens if they would empower us to take all actions necessary to protect the integrity and future existence of the Métis Nation. My friends, if you weren't there when we brought Resolution # 6 to the floor, I don't know if I can describe the wave of power that swept through the room as all 3,000 people in that great hall got to their feet - cheering in support of Resolution #6. The moment will go down in history.

Our past, present and future were as one when Resolution #6 was carried unanimously. A resolution turned into a rally - to protect the integrity of the Métis Nation.

Our Citizens have spoken. The MMF was given the authority to withdraw from the MNC should we have no other option. I know there are many Métis Citizens who belong to these organizations, but we are strong in our heart to protect our Métis Nation and Homeland. I want those people to know they will always have a home with the MMF. We will never abandon our Métis Citizens. On the contrary. We will always fight for them.

The AGA was an incredibly rich experience. The MMF donated $1 million to CancerCare. Thanks to the acts of reconciliation with the federal government and our sound fiscal management, the MMF will actively participate in the fight for a "World Without Cancer", because cancer is a disease that touches all our friends and families regardless of background. The MMF will also offer a $10,000 reward for information that helps to solve cases of missing and murdered Metis Citizens. We believe this added encouragement for someone with information to step forward will bring about justice for heartbroken Metis families.

Another notable moment was the passing of Resolution #5 wherein I and the MMF Cabinet were granted the authority to enter into negotiations with the Government of Canada to develop and sign intergovernmental agreements as we move closer to self-government.

It was a joy and honour to stand alongside the Cabinet and bring our hard work of the year to the account of our Citizens, to sit and talk, break bread together, and enjoy so many moments with so many of our Citizens. I feel overwhelmed with gratitude for your trust and support as I do the work of my lifetime to support the ever-growing strength of our Métis Nationhood.

Together we are united and together we will build our future.

I offer my prayers to all of our Citizens, friends and neighbours, and my deepest condolences to those who have been caused to grieve.

Meeqwetch,

 


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